A great white shark File picture: Discovery Channel, Andrew Brandy Casagrande/AP

Canberra - A diver has been killed in a shark attack at Esperance in Western Australia but the authorities have not been able to locate his body. 

The attack by a white shark took place near Cull Island's West Beach just off Esperance coast on Sunday afternoon, according to Surf Life Saving Western Australia. 

The area is understood to be a popular diving spot to hunt for abalone among the locals. 

The victim was in the area on a boat and diving at the moment of the attack, Western Australia police said.

"A woman who was on board the boat at the time of the incident has been returned to shore, and has been taken by St John Ambulance to the hospital to be treated for shock," the police said.

The man's body has not been found and the police, along with wildlife officers and other divers, are conducting search patrols in the area.

This is the second fatal shark attack in the region in less than three years after a 17-year-old diver died near Wylie Bay in 2017.